Nothing decided yet as area towns consider sending trash to Bristol incinerator

Nothing decided yet as area towns consider sending trash to Bristol incinerator


MERIDEN — The City Council voted this week to allow City Manager Guy Scaife to enter into talks with Covanta over possibly shipping trash to the company’s Bristol trash-to-energy plant, but a final agreement is far from a sure thing, Scaife said Thursday.

“There are always negatives, it’s not a foregone conclusion,” Scaife said. “We’re meeting as a group to understand the ramifications.”

A story in Wednesday’s Record-Journal incorrectly reported that Meriden had already entered into an agreement to send the city’s trash to Bristol.

Covanta, which has contracts with Meriden, Wallingford, Cheshire, Hamden and North Haven, wants to close its Wallingford transfer station because it’s no longer making money at the South Cherry Street location. The company had a permit to operate a trash-to-energy plant in Wallingford until 2015 when it converted to a transfer station. It has offered the towns financial incentives for the remainder of their contracts if they act quickly.

Cheshire has signaled some interest in the switch to Bristol because it would reduce tipping fees and yield a $21,000 annual savings, Town Manager Michael Milone said.

Covanta representatives have told officials in Meriden and Wallingford and the other three towns that an abutting property owner has expressed interest in purchasing Wallingford’s Covanta property.

“I believe BYK USA has some interest in it,” said Wallingford Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. “I’m not sure for what use.”

Covanta sold BYK USA a 1.1-acre parcel in Wallingford in 2012. The deal was part of a long-term partnership between the two companies that helped pave the way for a $52 million expansion of BYK’s operation in Wallingford. The expansion increased BYK’s manufacturing capacity by 300 percent and allowed for the addition of 37 new employees, according to a company announcement at the time.

BYK, which makes chemical additives used in household paint, completed the 56,000-square-foot addition in July 2014.

BYK USA representatives could not be reached for comment.

Covanta spokesman James Regan said the Wallingford transfer station closure was strictly economic. He could not say which company was interested in the property, except that “we’re looking at a possible sale.”

The towns have contracts with Covanta until 2020 and the company’s commitment is to service those agreements and look for options. Regan added that Covanta did not require any additional permitting for the increased trash capacity as it is covered in its existing permit.

Town officials will weigh the pros and cons of any deal, including the costs of trucking waste farther away, and how it would impact local trash hauling.

Also, if any party decides to break the contract, there could also be additional costs involved.

“We want to have as much knowledge as possible,” Dickinson said. “We’re having another meeting this month.” 203-317-2255 Twitter: @Cconnbiz

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